The success rate of sourcing strategies can use a boost in many organizations. Organizations invest a lot of time and effort in selecting the right business partner. However, extraordinarily little attention is given to what happens after the deal is signed. Neither by the consuming partner. Nor by the providing party. This is where certified B2B, or Business-to-Business, BRMs should become a new companion for your sourcing strategy.
Sourcing Strategies Gone Wrong
Too often, a sourcing strategy is comprised of the following:
- Determine your needs that you are seeking help with from a supplier, a vendor, or a business partner
- Analyze the supplier market
- Create a supplier portfolio
- Define the request for proposal criteria and the response templates
- Negotiate with and select a supplier.
And make sure that your sourcing strategy is based on business goals. And that is it.
This limited scope of a sourcing strategy is where it potentially can go wrong. From the outset I might add. Particularly, for business relationships that are of strategic importance.
As a matter of fact, the work really begins after the deal is signed. Delivering the goods and services is only a small piece of the puzzle. Keeping the relationship healthy, is probably the biggest piece of work that needs to be addressed. This is where Certified B2B BRMs step in.
What is a Certified B2B BRM™?
In short, a certified B2B BRM is a business relationship manager (BRM) whose foremost responsibility is to develop, nurture, and advance the relationship between the organizations that are involved in the deal. Ideally, both the consuming party and the providing party have a B2B BRM who manages the relationship. Their day job focuses on things such as:
- Set expectations and manage them
- Establish trust
- Manage risks, and
- Drive value
Obviously, these are big topics and can be quite of a challenge. However, none of them are a big surprise. That said, in many cases, these responsibilities are added on to the day job of somebody who has a full plate already. Someone on the vendor management team. Or someone in IT when it is an IT-related sourcing matter. Or someone in marketing for marketing-related sourcing deal. Etcetera. The risk is that the relationship becomes an afterthought. And that the relation is managed from an operational perspective, instead of from a strategic angle.
Putting the “Certified” in Certified B2B BRM™
Strategic business relationships, both internally to the organization and externally, deserve all the attention they need. The wheel to manage B2B business relationships the right way, was “invented” in 2017. In all fairness, long before that of course. However, it was in 2017, that the ISO organization released the ISO 44001 standard. A set of guidelines, or practices to follow when looking for help with the management of these relationships between organizations.
For those whose part-time of fulltime job it is to manage these B2B business relationships, INTERPROM has developed a certification training course. Successful completion of the course, which comes with practical assignments and a certification exam, leads to becoming a Certified B2B BRM.
How Does ISO 44001 Help B2B BRMs?
The core component of the ISO 44001 standard is the lifecycle of an B2B relationship. Compare it with the engine of a vehicle. It consists of eight phases. Think of eight gears. Gears to accelerate the engine. Each phase has its activities and deliverables. A relationship management plan, or RMP, captures these activities and deliverables. As the B2B BRM you ensure the performance of these activities. As well as the generation of deliverables.
The management system of the standard governs, or steers the engine. Furthermore, this management system enables, or fuels the engine. In essence, this system is the business relationship management system, or BRMS. The leadership of your organization, its goals, and its performance measurements are just a few examples of what governs the B2B BRM. And resources of your organization, its competencies, its behavior, and its communication are just a few examples of what enables the B2B BRM.
Internal and B2B BRMs
The BRM Institute does a superb job supporting BRMs globally. Internal as well as B2B BRMs. And ISO 44001 nicely complements the BRMiBOK of the BRM Institute. INTERPROM has published a free white paper to highlight this.
Some of the main differences between internal and B2B business relationships are:
- B2B business relationships have a commercial element to it, most often
- B2B business relationships may end at one point. Internal relationships on the other hand, may last indefinitely
- Alignment of the goals and objectives of the parties involved in a B2B relationship can be a challenge. The business goals and objectives of the internal parties should always be aligned
- What applies to the alignment of the goals, also applies to the culture of the parties involved
If you possess a BRM Institute and APMG International-issued certificate such as BRMP® or CBRM®, the ISO 44001 standard provides complementing guidance. The relationship management plan is just one example. It has a focus on the management of B2B relations.
How does a CB2BBRM™ Class Help B2B BRMs?
In just two days, a certified B2B BRM, or CB2BBRM™ course, educates its participants on every component of the ISO 44001 standard. In addition, the participants develop a relationship management plan for one of their strategic business relationships. As well as, they conduct a gap analysis of both the governing and of the enabling practices in their organization.
The takeaways of the course are applicable immediately after the class. There is a certification exam at the end of the course.
Does Your Sourcing Strategy Need a New Companion?
Do you or your colleagues have any of the following job titles?
- Business relationship manager or customer relationship manager
- Account manager or client success manager
- Vendor manager or supplier manager
- Customer satisfaction manager or customer care manager
- Strategic sourcing manager or continual service improvement manager
Then consider the following:
- Read the blog “Establishing A Successful B2B Business Partnership”
- Download the free white paper “ISO 44001 for B2B BRMs”
- Purchase a copy of the ISO 44001
- Participate in a 1-day “BRM Fundamentals” course
- Become CB2BBRM™ certified and become the new companion of your sourcing strategy